Review: ‘Bambi’

An intimate portrait of one of Gaul's first, and classiest, transsexuals.

After several fiction features, Gallic helmer Sebastien Lifshitz (“Wild Side”) has successfully turned to documentaries, first with “The Invisible Ones,” which won best docu at the recent French Cesars, and now with “Bambi,” an intimate portrait of one of Gaul’s first, and classiest, transsexuals. An ideal complement to Michiel van Erp’s “I Am a Woman Now,” which looked at sex-change pioneers including Bambi, the hourlong pic also works as a standalone item that affectionately chronicles how an Algiers boy became a Parisian girlie cabaret sensation and then, somewhat surprisingly, a high-school teacher. Berlin’s Teddy winner could appeal beyond the LGBT circuit.

Lifshitz alternates a visit to the childhood home of Bambi (born Jean-Pierre, later Marie-Pierre) with direct-to-cam footage of the protag recalling her difficult youth. A 1952 transvestite spectacular opened Jean-Pierre’s eyes and landed him in Paris at 17 to work at the notorious Carousel club. Bambi’s physical transformation isn’t dwelled on in detail, and more on her 29-year career as an educator wouldn’t have hurt. Assembly is straightforward, but because Bambi’s such an engaging raconteuse, the pic’s often riveting. Tech package is as effortlessly elegant as the protag.




An Un Monde Meilleur presentation and production, in association with Epicentre Films, with the participation of Canal Plus. (International sales: Doc & Film Intl., Paris.) Executive producer, Carole Mirabello. Directed, written by Sebastien Lifshitz.


Camera (color, B&W, HD), Sebastien Buchmann; editor, Tina Baz; music, Bambi, Coccinelle, Hassiba Rochdy, Cyrille Aufort, Andre Charlier, Benoit Sourisse, Piero Piccioni, Vivaldi, Jocelyn Pook; sound, Jean-Christophe Lion. Reviewed at Berlin Film Festival (Panorama Dokumente), Feb. 16, 2013. Running time: 58 MIN.


Marie-Pierre Pruvot.

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety